I remember way back sometime in the early '80's ( Man I'm getting old) doing a school project on the subject of the World Cup. It consumed my life for three weeks as i gathered and researched the history of it all before sticking it all into a scrapbook my old dear helped cut out into the shape of a football. I won third prize. Again!!
But no sense being bitter. Bitter? Of course I'm damn bitter. This could have been Resurrection Day for this great land, well, for a few weeks anyway. The memories my blackouts left of the previous three visits to the greatest show on earth are among my happiest in life. But for the cruel hand of fate and a spot of cheating this could have been the forth time. It was not to be.
South Africa and Mexico went head to head in the afternoon and opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw. It could have swung either way but I reckon both have about as much chance of winning the trophy as Brian Cowen has of being an elected taoiseach.
This evening it was twice winners Uruguay against France. How hard it is to write that name in terms of football but it has to be done. In a drab encounter which finished scoreless the highlight of the game had to be some of the South American tackling. Not for the faint hearted I assure you but then the Uruguayans were never shy when it came to touching boots with bones. Needless to say they were the receivers of the tournaments first red card. France, well, hmmm, can't see them doing much.
I suppose I better give my predictions. My money is on Spain, my head says it will be another Brazilian victory and my heart is with the Dutch... but that's another story.
The great England debate opens tomorrow. As usual they are hyping themselves up something shocking. That new Carlsberg ad? Great call to stir the national passion. England have good players and a manager with pedigree but i can't see them doing much else other than making up the numbers. I won't begrudge them if they do emulate their heroes of 1966 I just don't see them doing it this time round.
Should be a great four weeks and hopefully football will bring great viewing and bring the best out of those that are there, be they player or fans. They owe it to the kids of this planet for the gifts that are bestowed on them to show kids that they may dare to dream. It's so very important.
Player of the tournament - Lionel Messi
Top-scorer - Fernando Torres.
Somehow I think I may end up inducting myself into the 'brown mouth club' by the time this tournament is over. Roll on tomorrow.....